It is easy to get stressed out this time of the year. I had no idea there was such a thing as “midterms” of the midterm before the actual midterm exams in December. These October tests are worth up to 40% of my final year mark. Nervous yet? Well I sure was, once the excitement of the start of a new school year faded and I found myself behind on weeks’ worth of lecture readings and notes. One of the things I learned in high school was to take a moment (anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour) to formulate a plan and organise your plan in such a way that you will actually be able to carry out.
During this time I usually focus on one thing: be realistic. One of my character flaws is to feel like I can do “anything” and “everything”. Being realistic includes admitting I will not study 8 hours straight on a Saturday. I focus on organising myself in a way so I am unable to procrastinate. My favourite tool to use is Google calendar (yay for colour coding!) because it is a paperless way to be notified and arrange all your upcoming important dates and daily schedule. I always end up printing an empty calendar and placing it on my wall so I can cross out the days. It is very satisfying once all the days on the calendar are marked off leaving me with a great feeling of accomplishment.
I believe that being organized is being in control, by scheduling and actually counting the amount of studying/work I can fit into my day it in a way helps me visualize with a clear mind if I am doing enough to actually achieve my goals. In my personal experience, I find myself getting distracted every 25-30 minutes of concentrated studying. For this reason, I have developed my own personal way of going through my notes and readings. I estimate 30 minutes of studying and compliment it with 5 minutes or downtime where I usually drink some water/ make some tea, check social media or talk to one of my suite mates. This keeps my mind fresh and allows me to study for hours at a time without getting too bored.
I don’t necessarily study more by using my method but it is what I find (when I test my knowledge on course material) works best for me, and this is what I refer to as studying smart. I like to think of things this way we all have 168 hours in a week, I spend about 33% of that time sleeping, I am responsible for how I choose to allocate my remaining time in order to reach my end goals.